By Staff Sgt. Alyssa C. Gibson
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (AFNS) — Air Force leadership agree, taking care of Airmen and their families is paramount to the future of the force.
During a panel session at the Air Force Association’s Air, Space and Cyber Conference Sept. 19, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James, Air Force Chief of Staff Dave Goldfein, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody and their spouses focused on how the Air Force is supporting its members and ways Airmen can strike a balance between work and home.
Additionally, James announced a spouse and family member forum scheduled for for Oct. 19 in Washington, D.C.
According to James, the Air Force is taking a “several-fold approach” in the way it’s currently supporting Airmen and their families, starting with Air Force senior leaders’ concerted effort to protect and improve Airman and Family Readiness Center-run programs.
After expanding the Military Family Life Counselor Program in fiscal year 2016 and extending maternity leave, leadership is currently working with the Defense Department state liaison office to relieve some — if not all — of the difficulty a spouse may face when transferring their professional credentials state-to-state after a military-induced move.
Regarding effectively balancing work and family, Cody said Airmen must realize the scales aren’t going to be perfectly balanced all the time.
“We do ask a tremendous amount (from our) Airmen and their families … and that’s just the nature of our business,” Cody said. “But you can’t go home every night and not have anything left in the tank for the ones who love you more than anybody.”
This is true for a force that has been engaged in the joint fight for 25 years, and involved in a significant campaign against violent extremism for 15 years. Withstanding these challenges, Goldfein is inspired by the resiliency of Airmen and their families. He is dedicated to providing injured Airmen and their caregivers the support they need through the Invisible Wounds of War initiative.
“We are working extensively to reorganize ourselves to get this right, and every one of our Airmen who have either visible or invisible wounds are our Airmen for life — we owe this to them,” Goldfein said. “The resiliency our families have as they continue this long war that we’re in and as we go into the future has certainly been an inspiration.”